I have no recollection of life before this place. I moved here when I was two. I was about to experience the bouquet of my first wine cellar. It was Penfolds and it was the vintage of 1975. My father contributed to many vintages here and it was my good fortune to have the culture of this place woven into my childhood. Indeed since then my life has been filled with privileged experience working with and observing some great winemakers each with their own unique way of crafting wine. ‘Respect and history’ was learned at Penfolds, ‘craft and tradition’ at Rockford, ‘intellect and detail’ from Chris Ringland, ‘perfume and texture’ from Charlie Melton, ‘layers and length’ from my father Rob Gibson and most importantly ‘belief’ from Pete and Magali at Spinifex – without their encouragement Ruggabellus would in all likelihood have remained just an idea to this day.
Emma and I love drinking wine with food. We love wines with grace and intrigue. We live in the Barossa valley in southern Australia. This is our home. We have taken great pleasure in exploring its strengths – an ancient landscape with a great resource of young and very old vines. We remain constantly aware of the most significant local challenge – an abundance of sunshine.
For a few years now we have been dabbling with small parcels of Grenache, Mataro, Syrah and Cinsault and more recently old vine Syrah, Riesling, Semillon and Muscat from a five acre vineyard we purchased in late 2013.
We are keen to understand the uniquely Australian character of our wines. We use no new oak. For our reds we are attracted to vineyards that allow us to pick earlier in an effort to preserve vitality, crunch and intrigue. And for our whites we are attracted to vineyards that are rocky and closer to the sun – for us the white skins play a very important role as we explore a full and more exotic realm of flavour whilst trying to retain natural acidity, a realm of flavour we hope reflects the old, wild and mystical landscape we are lucky to now call our home amongst the hills here.
Our wines range from 10% to 100% whole bunch and all wine movements are done using gravity. We nearly always harvest on ‘fruit’ days. All ferments are unseeded and allowed to progress naturally. All wines are bottled under screw cap. We sincerely hope they become a valuable contribution to the evolving nature of Australian wine.
TIMAEUS (honour) – inspired by Grenache
EFFERUS (untamed) – inspired by Mataro
ARCHAEUS (soul of a place) – inspired by Syrah
QUOMODO (in which way) – inspired by Riesling
SOLUMODO (the solo way) – inspired by Semillon
Ultimately we would love for these to become collectable propositions and so they must stand up after a few years in the cellar, a motivating consideration whilst blending.
FLUUS (flow) – lighter weight, a great introduction to our style of red wine
SALLIO (to season) – an introduction to our skin fermented, textured style of white wine, inspired by the great wines of NE Italy, Slovenia and Georgia.
We have purchased small parcels of fruit from carefully selected vineyards. They range from 220m to 510m elevation and crucially cover a diversity of soil types. We are now the proud custodians of a beautiful old-vine vineyard at 480-510m elevation including Riesling, Semillon, Muscat rouge au petit grains and Syrah. It is beginning to provide us with valuable parcels of fruit. We also continue to establish a small vine garden containing Mataro, Grenache, Shiraz and Cinsault on a plot of land we have leased from good friends.
Thank you for your interest in our wines. We sincerely hope you enjoy them and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have,
Abel, Emma, Bailin and Rouille.